1994 San Francisco 49ers season
|1994 San Francisco 49ers season|
|Head coach||George Seifert|
|Home field||Candlestick Park|
|Division place||1st NFC West|
|Playoff finish||Super Bowl XXIX Champions|
The 1994 San Francisco 49ers season was the team's 49th season in the National Football League, and was highlighted by a victory in Super Bowl XXIX. The championship made San Francisco the first team to win five Super Bowls. After losing to the Dallas Cowboys in the previous two conference championship games, the 49ers made significant acquisitions in the 1994 free agent market. This included the signing of two-sport star Deion Sanders and Cowboys linebacker Ken Norton, Jr.. Sanders had a major impact on the team's success, winning the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award and recording six interceptions.
Quarterback Steve Young had his best NFL season and won his second MVP award. Steve Young set what was, at the time, the NFL record for highest passer rating in a season -- 112.8. Cold Hard Football Facts states that Young's 1994 season is the second greatest passing season in NFL history.
For the third consecutive season, the 49ers met the Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game. From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, the AFC was widely regarded as the NFL's inferior conference. Thus, this meeting between the NFC's perennial powerhouses was dubbed by many as "the real Super Bowl." The contest was one of the highest rated non-Super Bowl games in NFL history.
|7||San Francisco 49ers||Bryant Young||Defensive Tackle||Notre Dame|
|28||San Francisco 49ers||William Floyd||Running Back||Florida State|
|53||San Francisco 49ers||Kevin Mitchell||Linebacker||Syracuse|
|1994 San Francisco 49ers staff|
Special teams coaches
Strength and conditioning
|1994 San Francisco 49ers roster|
In 1994, the team spent large amounts of money on the addition of several star free agents, including Ken Norton, Jr., Gary Plummer, Rickey Jackson, and Deion Sanders. Additionally, several rookie players made key contributions to the team, some becoming season-long starters. This included defensive tackle Bryant Young, fullback William Floyd, and linebacker Lee Woodall. The 49ers started slowly early in the season. They defeated the Raiders in a game where Jerry Rice broke the NFL record for touchdowns, but followed with a 24-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, led by former 49ers quarterback Joe Montana.
Despite victories over the Rams and Saints, the 49ers offensive line was struggling having lost four starters to injury, and in Week 5 the Niners were crushed 40-8 by the Eagles. Following the Eagles game, a poll conducted on local sports radio station KNBR showed that an overwhelming majority of 49er fans wanted head coach George Seifert fired.
The game against the Eagles was a turning point for the 49ers despite being a lopsided loss. Steve Young was benched for Elvis Grbac abruptly during a series in the 3rd quarter. Soon after, Young was livid on the sidelines, shouting profanities at head coach George Seifert. Young later admitted "I was looking for a fistfight," and would later say that this incident caused his teammates to respond better to his leadership, as they saw how much he cared about winning ("It galvanized the guys behind Steve," said Brent Jones). The following week in Detroit, the 49ers trailed the Lions 14-0. After throwing a pass, Young was hit, picked up, and driven into the ground by three Lions defenders. After the hit, Young was screaming with his face dark red in color. He crawled most of the way off of the field before refusing help from the trainers as he limped the remaining way off the field. He miraculously returned to the field one play later (NFL rules state that after trainers attend to an injured player, that player must leave the field for at least one play) to lead the 49ers to a 27-21 victory.
The team rallied around Young to win 10 straight games, including a 21-14 victory over the two-time defending Super Bowl champion Cowboys. During that span, the 49ers' average margin of victory was nearly 20 points per game; they broke 35 points scored seven times, four times breaking 40 points scored.
During the 1994 season, many NFL teams wore "throwback uniforms" for occasional games (after week 2 of the season) to celebrate the NFL's 75th anniversary (a corresponding diamond 75th Anniversary patch was also worn by all teams). The 49ers chose to wear a version of their 1955 uniforms as throwbacks. This design featured sans-serif block numerals that were outlined and shadowed in black. White pants with thinner red-black-red striping were also worn, along with the old striped red socks (the team later reverted to their regular solid red socks after receiving permission from the NFL to wear the uniforms for the rest of the season). The team's regular 1989-95 gold helmet was worn with this uniform, as there was no logo on the 1955 helmet.
The team first donned the 1955 throwback uniforms during a week 3 match against the Los Angeles Rams and the following week at home versus the Saints. Both games ended in victory (coincidentally, these were also the first two games Deion Sanders played with the 49ers after signing as a free-agent after week 2). The team then suffered an embarrassing 40-8 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at home wearing their regular red uniforms with gold pants. (Football statistics site Football Outsiders calculates this 49ers loss to be the second-most lopsided football game they'd tracked from 1994-2008.)
For the subsequent three games until their BYE week, the team again was scheduled to play games wearing the throwback uniforms with white pants and dropshadows, and all three games resulted in wins. During the following weeks the 49ers embarked on a 10-game winning streak. The team, prompted both by the superstition of coach George Seifert, and the preference of players, petitioned the NFL to wear the throwback uniforms for the rest of the season. The league granted the request and the switch to solid red socks after the BYE week marked this occurrence. In all, the team went 15-1 (including the playoffs) wearing the 1955/1994 throwback uniforms. The only loss occurred during the regular season finale at Minnesota, with the team wearing white jerseys and resting most of their starters for the playoffs. Meanwhile, the 49ers went undefeated wearing the red jerseys of the throwback uniform. After winning Super Bowl XXIX however, the team was compelled to revert to wearing its regular 1964-style uniforms (1991 revised design) for the following 1995 season. One year later, the throwback design strongly influenced the 49ers to redesign their uniform set. In 1996, the team revealed a new helmet and uniform design featuring a darker red, shadowed numbers, black accents, and white pants. In 1998, the team changed the pants to a gold color and wore these uniforms through the 2008 season.
|1||September 5, 1994 (Mon)||Los Angeles Raiders||W 44-14||Candlestick Park||1-0||ABC 6:00pm||
|2||September 11, 1994||at Kansas City Chiefs||L 17-24||Arrowhead Stadium||1-1||FOX 10:00am||
|3||September 18, 1994||at Los Angeles Rams||W 34-19||Anaheim Stadium||2-1||FOX 1:15pm||
|4||September 25, 1994||New Orleans Saints||W 24-13||Candlestick Park||3-1||FOX 1:15pm||
|5||October 2, 1994||Philadelphia Eagles||L 8-40||Candlestick Park||3-2||FOX 1:15pm||
|6||October 9, 1994||at Detroit Lions||W 27-21||Pontiac Silverdome||4-2||FOX 10:00am||
|7||October 16, 1994||at Atlanta Falcons||W 42-3||Georgia Dome||5-2||FOX 10:00am||
|8||October 23, 1994||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||W 41-16||Candlestick Park||6-2||FOX 1:15pm||
|10||November 6, 1994||at Washington Redskins||W 37-22||RFK Stadium||7-2||FOX 10:00am||
|11||November 13, 1994||Dallas Cowboys||W 21-14||Candlestick Park||8-2||FOX 1:15pm||
|12||November 20, 1994||Los Angeles Rams||W 31-27||Candlestick Park||9-2||ESPN 5:15pm||
|13||November 28, 1994 (Mon)||at New Orleans Saints||W 35-14||Louisiana Superdome||10-2||ABC 6:00pm||
|14||December 4, 1994||Atlanta Falcons||W 50-14||Candlestick Park||11-2||FOX 1:15pm||
|15||December 11, 1994||at San Diego Chargers||W 38-15||Jack Murphy Stadium||12-2||FOX 1:15pm||
|16||December 17, 1994 (Sat)||Denver Broncos||W 42-19||Candlestick Park||13-2||NBC 1:00pm||
|17||December 26, 1994 (Mon)||at Minnesota Vikings||L 14-21||Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome||13-3||ABC 6:00pm||
|San Francisco 49ers||13||3||0||.813||505||296||L1|
|New Orleans Saints||7||9||0||.438||348||407||W1|
|Los Angeles Rams||4||12||0||.250||286||365||L7|
NFC Divisional Playoff
CHI- Kevin Butler 39-yard field goal CHI 3-0
SF- William Floyd 4-yard rush (Doug Brien kick)SF 20-3
SF- Doug Brien 36-yard field goal SF 23-3
SF- Steve Young 6-yard rush (Doug Brien kick)SF 30-3
SF- William Floyd 1-yard rush (Doug Brien kick)SF 37-3
SF- Adam Walker 1-yard rush (Doug Brien kick)SF 44-9
CHI- Lewis Tillman 1-yard rush (pass failed) SF 44-15
An endzone brawl erupted in the second quarter following Steve Young's six-yard rushing score. Shaun Gayle of the Bears pushed Young to the dirt after the score; when Young threw the ball in the ground and in Gayle's face a fight erupted.
NFC Championship Game
SF- Eric Davis 44-yard interception return (Doug Brien kick)SF 7-0
SF- Ricky Watters 29-yard pass from Steve Young (Doug Brien kick)SF 14-0
SF- William Floyd 1-yard rush (Doug Brien kick)SF 21-0
SF- Doug Brien 34-yard field goal SF 24-7
DAL- Emmitt Smith 4-yard rush (Chris Boniol kick)SF 24-14
SF- Jerry Rice 28-yard pass from Steve Young (Doug Brien kick)SF 31-14
DAL- Emmitt Smith 1-yard rush (Chris Boniol kick)SF 31-21
SF- Steve Young 3-yard rush (Doug Brien kick)SF 38-21
DAL- Michael Irvin 10-yard pass from Troy Aikman (Chris Boniol kick)SF 38-28
Super Bowl XXIX
- SF - Jerry Rice 44-yard pass from Steve Young (Doug Brien kick) SF 7-0
- SF - Ricky Watters 51-yard pass from Steve Young (Doug Brien kick) SF 14-0
- SD - Natrone Means 1-yard run (John Carney kick) SF 14-7
- SF - William Floyd 5-yard pass from Steve Young (Doug Brien kick) SF 21-7
- SF - Ricky Watters 8-yard pass from Steve Young (Doug Brien kick) SF 28-7
- SD - John Carney 31 yards SF 28-10
- SF - Ricky Watters 9-yard run (Doug Brien kick) SF 35-10
- SF - Jerry Rice 15-yard pass from Steve Young (Doug Brien kick) SF 42-10
- SD - Andre Coleman 98-yard kickoff return (*Mark Seay pass from Stan Humphries) SF 42-18
- SF - Jerry Rice 7-yard pass from Steve Young (Doug Brien kick) SF 49-18
- SD - Tony Martin 30-yard pass from Stan Humphries (Alfred Pupunu pass from Stan Humphries) SF 49-26
(*)The Chargers became the first team to have a successful two-point conversion in the Super Bowl. This was the first season in which the NFL allowed 2-point conversions (a rule in place in the American Football League in San Diego's first ten seasons), and the Chargers actually had two in the game.
Awards and honors
- Led NFL with 66 Touchdowns
- Led NFL with 505 points scored
- Jerry Rice, NFL leader, Receiving Yards (1,499)
- Jerry Rice, NFC Pro Bowl
- Deion Sanders, National Football League Defensive Player of the Year Award
- Deion Sanders, Newspaper Enterprise Association Defensive Player of the Year Award
- Deion Sanders, NFC Pro Bowl
- Bryant Young, Defensive End, UPI NFL-NFC Rookie of the Year
- Steve Young, led NFL, 35 Touchdown Passes
- Steve Young, NFL Passing Leader, 112.8 Passer Rating
- Steve Young, NFC Pro Bowl
- Steve Young, All-Pro selection
- Steve Young, Super Bowl XXIX MVP
- Steve Young, NFL MVP
- Steve Young, PFWA NFL MVP
- Steve Young, NEA NFL MVP
- Steve Young, UPI NFC Player of the Year
- Steve Young, Bert Bell Award
- Jerry Rice, 100 reception season (Rice finished the season with 112 receptions) 
- Jerry Rice, 1,000 yard receiving season
- Jerry Rice surpasses Jim Brown's all time touchdown record of 126 in week one, scoring three touchdowns against the Los Angeles Raiders on Monday Night Football. 
- The record was eclipsed by Peyton Manning in 2004.
- Cold Hard Football Facts: The Dandy Dozen: 12 best passing seasons in history, behind only Joe Montana's 1989 season.
- 2010 NFL Record and Fact Book (PDF). National Football League. p. 378. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
- NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 440